Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monster misstep in DA race
So I've gone out and collected signatures over the past 25 years with more petitions and campaign forms than I care to remember. And yes, on occasion somebody simply refused to sign, saying they did not support the idea--sometimes even saying they hated the idea.
My response was always something to the effect that by signing this preliminary form you are not voting to support it, only getting it (or me) on the ballot for the electorate to decide; and isn't that what grass roots democracy is all about?
And of course one of the sacred rights in America is the secrecy of your voting ballot. Although the state decided long ago that campaign petitions to get things on the ballot are public documents. So beware what you sign, because most folks will consider that a sign of support.
Michael A. Cahillane is doing major backpedaling at the moment--today's Daily Hampshire Gazette front page article and a live appearance on the Cantara show, my favorite WRNX radio program this morning, trying to explain why he signed the referendum petition to ban gay marriage back in 2005.
Ironically he worked as a prosecutor in the DA's office--a position he now seeks--and one of their responsibilities at the time was to enforce the Open Meeting and Public Documents Law. So you would think he would have known better, although his boss Betsy Scheibel was pretty well ensconced as DA--and most insiders would not have predicted her retirement only five years later.
Of course this major misstep would never have seen the light of print/bandwidth over the past 12 hours if two citizens did not take the time to write a 'Letter to the Editor' of the venerable Gazette.
The main mistake Mr. Cahillane made was to ignore their legitimate concerns--probably hoping the issue would never get out of the closet--rather then addressing it head on many months back, when apparently one of the letter writers first brought it to his attention.